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Howard says he talked with Van Gundy “a bunch” recently

Dwight Howard Stan Van Gundy

Yes, I’m sure their real tight. Probably get together for a barbeque with their families after the season. Pound a few beers and talk about the good times.

Anyway… Dwight Howard went for a walk in Beverly Hills today, and if you do that and are a celebrity you can get accosted by TMZ’s cameras. It happens.

They asked him about his relationship with Stan Van Gundy — you know, the coach Howard told management he wanted fired — his recovery from back surgery, and how he feels being in Beverly Hills while his team is back in Orlando getting ready for a key Game 4.

Orlando Magic superstar Dwight Howard tells TMZ ... he’s been in constant contact with head coach Stan Van Gundy since his back surgery ... saying they’ve spoken “a bunch of times” since the playoffs began….

“Sad” ... Howard said ... adding, “Just a little sad that I can’t be in Orlando with my teammates in the playoffs.” I went back and forth with the doctor for a couple of days ... and he just said, ‘Dwight I need you to stay here, I don’t need you to go back home, I don’t need you traveling on the plane ... anything.’”

“I feel like I’m in jail,” Dwight said ... “I just really wish I could be there for my teammates.”

His teammates could use him. Well, the healthy him that could play at an All-Star level.

How Howard and SVG define “a bunch of times” and how in depth those conversations are may be different. But they are communicating on some level. And they will continue to do so until the Magic fire Van Gundy this summer.